Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is a disease in which the pancreas is no longer able to produce vital digestive enzymes. EPI causes severe weight loss and diarrhea in affected animals. The most common cause of EPI in dogs a pancreatic acinar atrophy (PAA) a condition in which the immune system slowly, and irreversibly destroys the cells in and pancreas that make digestive enzymes. Approximately 90% of a dog’s pancreas must be destroyed before clinical signs of EPI are observed.
To date, no one has discovered the cause of PAA in dogs, though we suspect that it involves a complex series of interactions between nutrition, the intestinal microbiome, and an individual dog’s genetics and immune system.
The diagnosis of EPI is made based on the trypsin-like immunoreactivity assay (TLI) which measures an important protein produced exclusively by the pancreas. Dogs with EPI have a very low TLI, indicating a severe loss of pancreatic mass.
We are currently enrolling dogs in a clinical study aimed at discovering the cause of PAA so that it can be diagnosed and treated earlier in a dog’s life, before the onset of EPI. This study might also benefit dogs that already have EPI if we are able to discover ways to improve therapy.
We are looking for the following dogs to enroll in our study:
- Dogs with a TLI between 2.5 and 5 ug/L
- Dogs with EPI that are healthy following pancreatic enzyme supplementation
- Dogs with EPI that have persistent gastrointestinal disease (diarrhea, vomiting, poor appetite) despite pancreatic enzyme supplementation
If your dog falls within one of these groups please contact us through the following email address:
For more information about EPI please visit the following link: